Characters from Xena: Warrior Princess are property of MCA/Universal/Renaissance. No copyright infringement is intended.
This is a work of alternative fan fiction. No profit will be gained from its production. This piece of fiction is copyright of the author.
There are depictions of love (no sex) between consenting adult persons of the same gender. If this is illegal where you live, you are underage, or you just don't like the idea, then stop reading here and find something more appropriate to your tastes and/or laws.
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Copyright April 21, 1998
She asked me to write this and, as usual, I cannot deny her anything. I told her that her stories were enough, that people would know of our love for one another if only they read them. She said that she wanted people to see things from another perspective. I had told her so long ago, in Tripolis if I remember correctly, that I would grant her last request when we were old and gray, and here we are. We are old and gray, and this is her last request.
Before we met, before we knew of life's cruelties, we were probably the same. Until I saw eight winters, I was the typical village girl, the daughter of a tavern owner. She was born the daughter of a farmer. We were of simple people, but we became so much more.
I curse the day that Cortese changed my life forever, but she tells me that it must have been fated, that we might have never met otherwise. Either way, I became a warlord, while she remained the beautiful, young daughter of a farmer, albeit, one who aspired for more than the life of such. And so, while I ravaged the land from the Peloponnese to Macedonia, she continued to grow and to hunger for that which she only heard from traveling bards.
I won't go into detail about my past misdeeds. They are far too numerous and still bring me shame, although Gabrielle's love has lessened even that pain, somewhat. But I will tell you that the day I met the son of Zeus, I found myself once more. I saw the way to the honorable path I should take to atone for my savagery.
I remember the hopeless pain I was suffering, trapped within, when I had made the decision to bury my weapons, and therefore, my past. Hercules had shown me a different way, but the going was more difficult than I had imagined. I found myself bombarded constantly with reminders of the evil that I had wrought upon the people, the land, that I had come into contact with during my reign of terror as the Destroyer of Nations. I couldn't deal with it any more. Physical strength I had, but not the heart, not the will, to continue facing my dark past.
And then, like a gift from the gods whom I despised so ardently, I found my Gabrielle. It hadn't been the most desired of circumstances. She and several of the women from her village had been accosted by slavers, and were being escorted to Draco. But she, the one who would become my inner strength, my source, stood up to them, defied their claim on her spirit. I admired her courage, although at the time, I thought that perhaps she was being foolish in her attempts to fight them off. She was so young, so innocent then. I could not but help her.
That moment that we saw each other was like a familiar spark, a premonition of the inferno that would rage, and continues so, between us. Her honey blond hair and eyes the color of shifting green, wide in admiration and surprise, caught me frozen in battle. It wasn't until later, when we were more comfortable with each other, that I blamed her, in all humor, for the lump I was dealt.
Afterwards, when I had returned her and the other women to Potedaia, she begged me to let her accompany me. I denied her request simply on the grounds that I could not allow an innocent to be victimized by the violent world that was my life. As much as I wanted her, needed her guiding spirit, I would not succumb to my own selfishness. It wasn't until she came to my rescue that I realized that I was fooling myself. She was strong despite her lack of experience. Her heart knew no other way.
How I have joked with her about that time in my mother's tavern when she saved my life, my soul. I told her that I was the hero and she was the sidekick, that it was my job to do the rescuing. I still get a jab in the ribs for it, but she makes up for the small pain with gentle, playful kisses. She knows, for I have told her countless times, that she saved me on more occasions that I care to remember.
But I digress (something I'm prone to after a lifetime with a bard). After I fought Draco for my village, for its safety, she followed me. I played the surly warlord as best I could, but she refused to leave my side. She sought adventure, to collect the tales that would make her a great bard. I was afraid to allow anyone close enough to see my true weakness, to see my need for another person. I had been so alone for so long, and she was someone that I yearned to be, someone that I wanted to temper me. Innocent, pure, trusting, but she was so young.
It was when I finally succumbed to her insistent pleading, that I realized that she had a great power over me. She held my heart. I wanted to crawl inside of her and wash away the stench, the filth of blood that covered my hands. Little by little, she did that for me. She helped me to deal with my past. She was there by my side as I embarked on my quest for redemption, encouraging me when I thought it useless, berating me when I fell into self-pity.
It wasn't until she received her caste from the fallen Amazon Terreis that I noticed just how she was beginning to mature while on the road with me. She had been willing to sacrifice her life for a stranger. It was then that I knew that I desired her. I hid it well, or so I thought. The Amazons knew. And I think that she knew deep in her own heart. But we continued on, as if nothing had changed between us.
Thessaly. That was the turning point for me. That was when I realized just how much she meant to me, that I couldn't go on without her. She died, and she returned. She left the Fields for me, to continue travelling with me. But still, neither of us spoke of what was in our hearts. Perhaps it was fear, uncertainty. Whatever fogged our minds then, caused us to make more than one mistake.
Then I died. It is actually an inside joke between us (and perhaps Hades) the number of times that both of us have been to the other side and back. I won't explain what happened as I suffered in Tartarus, but I will tell you that I heard Gabrielle's thoughts. Even as my body lay in its sarcophagus, she continued to support me, to give me a reason to return.
When I heard her tell Iolaus that she loved me, I knew that I had given up on my life too easily. That moment we met in between life and death, when I kissed away her fears and doubts, was one that I will treasure always. And so, with the help of a few friends, I returned. But still, even with her declarations and my actions, we were still afraid to speak our hearts.
So many people we met came between us, then, and the love that we longed to share with each other. Callisto, Perdicus, Ulysses. My past, her past, and one foolish attempt to deceive myself that I could live without her love. She left me twice in attempts to find her own path, to assure herself that she was independent of me. She returned both times, stronger and wiser for her experiences. And when we left those nightmares behind, we found our courage.
It was an evening blessed by the moon goddess. We had made our camp along the banks of a lazy river, whose sounds lulled us into a comfort that made the words somewhat easy. We admitted our love for one another. Her awkwardness was endearing, her blushes enchanted me. My soul rejoiced the moment that our lips met for the first time in a kiss of love's affirmation. My body burned in its consummation.
I was lost in her. My mind, so focused before, wandered helplessly when I gazed upon her lithe body, her emerald eyes. I found myself wanting to love her as no other had, to allow myself to be loved as I had never before needed. And she responded. Our love was sublime, and still is to this day, even as age has found us two old women battling morning aches as we had once faced slavers, raiders, and all their type.
She calls it the year that we lived in Tartarus on the mortal plane. It seemed as if the Fates had gone on a drug-induced terror with the strands of our lives. Vengeance begot carelessness, which begot lies. I wanted revenge on Caesar, and Gabrielle lost her blood innocence and gave birth to a demon. I traveled to Chin to right a past wrong, and she, with the help of the most manipulative of gods, nearly got me killed. Not long after that, her daughter, whom I had assumed dead, took my son Solon's life. And during it all, we were merely going through the motions of loving one another. Towards the end, we were more likely to kill each other than make love to one another.
We were hopelessly caught up in betrayals, lies, and jealousies. I tried to kill her. I still shudder at the thought. I have begged her forgiveness time and again, as the subject, on rare occasions, rears its ugly head. She only answers my pleas with a gentle smile and reminds me that it is in the past. At that time during that hellish year, were consumed by blind anger. We did things to each other that should have been unforgivable. Our love should have died then, but my son, our son, brought us back together again. He knew that we could not survive without one another. We were too blind to see it ourselves, so wrapped up, we were, in the emotions that petty gods inspired within us. His lessons made us and our love stronger.
Our continued life on the road after Illusia was not an easy one. For eight more winters, we battled armies and gods, warlords and tyrants. Our love for one another grew, and even Ares gave up on his desire to reclaim a heart that was no longer mine, yet alone his. It wholly belonged to the sweet bard who had joined me in the hour of my greatest need. It was cherished by the woman who fought with me and for me. All doubts were laid aside when we officially joined in an Amazon ceremony five winters after we had met, practically to the day.
It was during the last attempt by the God of War to call me back into his dark service that he was entrapped in the Eye of Hephaestus. He had gone too far, and had angered many other gods with his schemes. We, and the warlords we had battled for so long, had finally been freed of his twisted interference. And so, we found ourselves able to relax and settle down. We found ourselves ending our journey with the Amazons.
The void in our hearts from the loss of our son was filled when Gabrielle, with some help from Iolaus, gifted our lives with twins, Lyceus and Melia. They were blessed with blond hair and blue-green eyes, a boy and a girl. And then, with the insistence from my wife (like I said, I can't deny her anything), I relented and gave birth to our second daughter, Jana. Her father, who I never saw after our anonymous encounter, was a peaceful man whose gentle nature lived on in the young woman who later married a merchant and gave us six beautiful grandchildren, three of whom carry the dark hair and blue eyes that melt my bard's heart.
After we settled with the Amazons, Gabrielle claimed the mask from Ephiny in a peaceful, tear-filled ceremony. We had found our home, finally. Lyceus lived with the Centaurs who instilled in him a sense of duty and pride. We visited him often and were astounded by his growth both in body and mind. He left in his eighteenth winter to seek adventure as his mother once had. While in Gaul, he met a Celtic girl and went north with her family to Britannia. He understands our reluctance to visit, but we keep in touch with the occasional scroll, and he brought his family, his wife and two daughters, to Greece just three winters ago so that we might meet.
Melia, who inherited the gift of words and compassion from her mother, stayed with us and became part of the Amazon Nation upon her naming ceremony. When she proved herself a capable warrior and diplomat, Gabrielle named her heir to the Queen's mask. When age began to take its toll on Gabrielle, she passed her rule to our daughter, who still maintains her mother's vision of a peaceful and prosperous culture of independent women.
And so, here we are, old and gray. We are mothers and grandmothers, we are assured of our continued legacy through those who carry our blood. I sit beside my love, my source, as she lays sleeping, losing a battle to the illness that is ravaging her weakened body. She is not afraid to die, sure that her life has been one well-lived. I know that I will soon join her, for she is the only reason that I have continued thus far. She will take my heart with her, and with it, my will to live.
I believe that this is only the beginning for us, there will be no end. Our hearts, our spirits are joined forevermore. Only this plane shall lose our bodies. Our spirits continue on another. I have told her that death will not separate us, for we are one now.
My soul is entwined with hers. She is my love, my life. She is the woman who bathes me in light, shows me the way, and walks at my side throughout it all. And this is her last request. May those who read this understand that without her, I would have never carried on past that day in a clearing outside of Potedaia, carried on to write these words for Gabrielle.